I Was Willing to Let You Die
A Television Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
*UPDATE: As it turns out, the CIA is not completely incompetent and the drone indeed followed Saul correctly. My grade remains at a solid 9 for episode six, however, for quibbles here and there explained in last week’s review.
Redux defines a moment that arrives in every season of Homeland where I legitimately find it quite difficult to bring up predictions and theories because I have no idea where they’re going to go from here. The title itself defines the concept of resurgence, a thematic unity that is ubiquitous throughout another fine hour of the series. The central structure of the episode primarily revolves around Carrie’s manic episodes resurfacing in terrifying fashion. Yet all of the characters are struggling with ideas, places, and people that have come back into their lives, often with significant consequences. For Carrie, it’s not just the manic episodes, it’s the constant reminders of people she has thrown under the bus to advance her own goals in the name of national security, even going to the point of blowing up Saul to take out Pakistani Taliban leaders who will undoubtedly be replaced. If there’s a significant theme of Homeland Season 4, it’s the vapidity of taking names off of these kill lists and throwing so many in danger in the process. Aayan died to take Haqqani out and Saul nearly did as well, but what end would it serve to kill off one man? Someone would simply arise to replace him.
Before we get to Carrie, let’s touch off on other things. What Redux does so well is taking characters who have often come across as one-note and or simply villainous for the sake of having an antagonist and humanizing them, or at the very least providing them with an alternative perspective. Lockhart arrives in Islamabad, taking an active role and I was a huge fan of this development. Lockhart has never been the most likable character and his self-obsession with his own self-preservation gave him the airy feeling of a typical politician, which really doesn’t help the whole likeability thing. But it’s a nice twist to have him be on the side of the CIA when hell is flying loose in Washington. Needless to say, that redux moment for Lockhart when Washington is demanding answers for the wedding blast and Saul’s kidnapping is a great twist of irony considering the beginning of Season 3, when Lockhart was on the other side. Him and Saul have never truly got along, but there is a grudging respect between the two and a certain amount of decorum for the position Saul once held. By no means is Lockhart completely doing this from the point of view of caring for Saul, his entire reputation and the reputation of the agency he fought so hard to control is at stake. It’s a neat coloration of the character that provides him with more shades than he seemed to be capable of espousing.
What Lockhart seems incapable of espousing it seems is the basic concept of diplomacy. Pakistan has a tremendously difficult relationship with the Taliban in the mountainside and the American ambassador has to juggle that understanding while keeping mind the American airstrikes that happen within the country’s borders. Sure, for Lockhart to threaten to pull the two billion in aid was a bravado moment, but the entire sequence was one where diplomacy was completely and utterly thrown out of the window. The forestation is palpable but idiotic at the same time. Ambassador Boyd does her absolute best to constantly juggle all of the tension in a way that draws a fine line but then Lockhart goes way overboard and throws the entire gambit into the air. Machismo rarely works and certainly not in a situation where everyone is basically walking the proverbial tight rope. For one, this throws the ambassador’s contacts into the air, which rightfully pisses her off as four years of her work basically go down the train. Two, she was never informed of the tactic from the president, so she basically looks like a buffoon in front of everyone else. Considering how that could literally render her power obsolete, it’s a testament to her political acumen that she manages to use back channels to still garner the info and meetings she needs. Three, it presents a fractured front in front of the opposition when everyone needs to be on the same page.
Haqqani and Saul provide the most intriguing aspect of this episode. Haqqani’s redux is his family. It’s almost a warming sight to see the man embrace the children he hasn’t seen for three years before you quickly remember who he is and what he’s done. His eldest son throws a shoe at him but Haqqani forces his eldest child to apologize. As they sit down for dinner, the episode revolves back to some of the most intelligent discussion of the entire War on Terror I’ve seen on television, and yes, that includes a plethora of news stations. Saul begins with wondering how Haqqani hasn’t yet tired of what he calls perpetual warfare. “Well, you could have just left us alone,” Haqqani noted dryly. From his point of view, the Taliban were not responsible for the 9/11 attack, the Saudis were. It’s a cynical point of view that Haqqani backs up with noting how fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were Saudi Arabia, yet America didn’t invade them. “And then you stayed and stayed and stayed,” he adds blithely. Saul criticizes his hardline view of Islam, which he counters quietly with the misery he feels that Christianity has brought upon the world. “I’m a Jew,” Saul notes blithely, ending the fascinating conversation.
Carrie’s manic episode takes the centerpiece of the episode but before that I want to get into her guilt over Aayan’s shocking murder at the end of last week’s episode. “Go ahead, say it,” Carrie says to Fara. “I sent him to his death.” “We all did,” Fara notes sadly. As the day continues, Carrie’s guilt continues to grow as her changed medication sends her into a terrifying spiral. It’s a doozy of a sequence and in some brilliant misdirection, the show truly makes it terrifying, with the fly and monkey being the standouts. For a moment it seems like she shot two civilians before she’s grabbed and taken into a rather posh house. Quickly she wrestles the man to the ground and then we see… Brody. Yep, Damian Lewis comes back for a special appearance, absolutely and understandably terrifying Carrie out of her mind. But more so than his appearance, what terrifies Carrie is having the man whom she had sent to his death in Tehran. “I was willing to let you die,” she sobs, the guilt she had hidden for so long overpowering her. Then Damian Lewis’s voice subtly changes and as the camera pulls back for a final shot, it finds Carrie in the arms of Khan. Holy hell, Homeland, holy fucking hell. I can’t wait for next week.
Great Moments Not Mentioned Above:
+Carl Franklin’s direction was fantastic
+Tasneem continues to be fascinating
+Lockhart opposed to killing off Saul
+I’m really enjoying the dynamic between Carrie and Khan
+“Praise god for sending me a human shield.”
+“Homegrown terrorists are every country’s nightmare.”
+The feud between the State Department and the CIA for influence over foreign affairs
+“Saul would’ve agreed if he’d had the chance… He’d put a bullet in his own brain if he could.”
+The hospital sequence was amazing.
+Poor Kiran. Talk about some rough times.
+“Because you care for me!?”
+“I’m glad about not having Saul on my conscience. I feel shitty enough about Aayan as it is.”
+“The graveyard of empires…”
+“Why are you cold? You hate me.”
+“It strikes me as unfortunate.”
+The Pakistani army losing men and machinery to the Taliban adds another intriguing layer to the complicated geopolitics of the country
Written By: Alexander Cary
Directed By: Carl Franklin
Image Courtesy: Life is Caps @LiveJournal